Friday, July 20, 2007

A Mother's Love ....

Susan J. Myrick, or Murfreesboro, appears to have struggled when writing her will dated Novemeber 24, 1916. She had specific bequests to family and friends, but seemed frustrated by her desire to divide the estate evenly between her two sons.

Ultimately, common sense pervailed. Or perhaps her lawyer, B.B. Winborne, played the role of wise King Solomon and suggested a solution.

In Item 12 of her will, Myrick explained that although she loved them both equally, her sons were not equal. One son was financially successful and had grown children, while the other had young daughters and serious health problems. She felt that she had no choice but to provide more for the son that had less.

I'm not sure why I find comfort in reading Myrick's will .... unless perhaps it's because I'm younger and less successful than my brother.

North Carolina, Hertford County.

I, Susan J. Myrick, of sound mind and memory, but realizing the uncertainty of life do make and declare this to be my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former wills made by me.

Item 1 – I bequeath to my son Walter Myrick, my silver sugar dish.
Item 2 – I bequeath to my niece Lizzie B. Hubbell, my mahogany table in my dining room in Murfreesboro.
Item 3 – I bequeath to Blanche Myrick, widow of my Step-Son C.E. Myrick, the painting over the mantel in my parlor in Murfreesboro.
Item 4 – I bequeath to Julia Myrick, wife of my son Walter, my breast pin and ear rings.
Item 5 – I bequeath to Susan Baker Myrick, daughter of my son Lawrence Baker Myrick, the portrait of my late husband Dr. Thomas N. Myrick.
Item 6 – I bequeath the portrait of Mrs. Julia Myrick, the first wife of my late husband, to her Grand-daughter Mary Myrick, daughter of Charles E. Myrick.
Item 7 – I bequeath the remainder of my silver ware to my two sons, Walter D. Myrick and Lawrence Baker Myrick.
Item 8 – I bequeath to Sophia Tyner, My faithful servant, twenty-five dollars in money.
Item 9 – I devise and bequeath to my son Walter Douglas Myrick of Texas my house and lot in the town of Murfreesboro, N.C. together with all furniture not herein otherwise disposed of, subject to the next item.
Item 10 – I bequeath to Miss Maggie Jeggitt all the furniture in the South bed room in my dwelling in Murfreesboro and all the bed clothes in said dwelling.
Item 11 – I devise to my son Lawrence Baker Myrick for life, my house and lot in the City of Norfolk, State of Virginia now occupied by him, and after his death I devise said house and lot to the children of my son Lawrence Baker Myrick, upon the condition that my son Lawrence Baker Myrick pays to my dear friend Maggie Jeggitts the sum of One Hundred and Fifty Dollars per annum during her life.
Item 12 – I regret that I have to make a distinction in value of the property given to my two sons. It has always been my desire and purpose to make an equal division between them, but my son Lawrence has grown very deaf and his health is not good and he has a family of young girls to rear and care for, while my son Walter’s children are almost grown and he is in much better circumstances. I hope and believe that my son Walter will understand and appreciate my feelings and will approve of the division that I have made. There is no difference in my love and affection for them.
Item 13 – All other property which I own and have not herein disposed of, I give to my two sons, Walter and Lawrence, equally.
Item 14 – I nominate and appoint my son, Lawrence Baker Myrick, my sole Executor. This the 24 day of November 1916.

Susan J. Myrick

Signed, published and declared in the presence of Stanley Winborne, B.B. Winborne

North Carolina,
Hertford County.
I, Susan J. Myrick, desire to make the following codicil to my last Will and Testament above written.

Item 1 – I bequeath to my son Lawrence Baker Myrick my China dinner set.
Item 2 - I bequeath to my son Walter Douglas Myrick my piano and organ.

This November 24th 1916 Susan J. Myrick

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Balancing Small Town Charm with Economic Viability

Murfreesboro faces significant challenges in the planned development of the land along the riverfront. Hopefully we'll know a little more about the site's future in the coming months.

A potential buyer and developer would have a prime piece of real estate, nestled in the heart of historic downtown Murfreesboro. But they'd also have a unique problem: building something that's cost effective while maintaining the historic integrity of the area. The location of the original King's Landing, the Murfree House, the Indian Queen Tavern, the Dr. Thomas O'Dwyer residence, and by some accounts a significant nineteenth century free-black community, fall within the area being considered for possible development.

The site needs structures that will enhance Historic Murfreesboro and that will last and get better over time. Understandably, the development needs to be economically viable for the private sector, but it also needs to be something that starts out good and ages even better. One cannot overstate the importance of crafting a development that enhances the historic district. From a visitor's standpoint, it is the one element that best sets Murfreesboro apart from other northeastern North Carolina towns.

(stay tuned ... more thoughts to come)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mary Ann Little and Her Four Mahogany Tables

An interesting Murfreesboro will:

In the Name of God Amen. I Mary Ann Little being of sound and perfect Mind and Memory do this 1st day of June 1812 Make and publish this My last will & Testament in Manner following that is to say - First I give and bequeath unto William P. Little one Mahogany Table (Tea) one Bed & Furniture & Floor Cloth likewise his own Picture. Secondly I give and Bequeath to William Blunt all the Household Furniture that I bought at the Sale of Sharp Blunt,
Three Lots in Murfreesboro one on the Main street and two Back Lots. His Mothers Picture and the eldest of My Bay Mares Fillys to him and His Heirs forever. Thirdly I give and bequeath unto George Blunt the following Negroes: Old Lamb, Aggy, James son of Aggy, Little Lamb, Riddick, Mary, Creasey, Martha, old Tim, Daphney, Liddey, Pompey son of Daphney, Chloe, Matilda, Hampton, young Will, Rhealy, Leving, Tempy, Harry & Simon. Also the tract of Land I bought of the Estate of Abram Porter. My Bay Mare & Colt & Two Mahogany Tables to Him and His Heirs forever. Fourthly I give and bequeath unto Jacob Blunt the following Negroes - Patty, Scott, Beck, Essex, Ephraigm & Exum also My other three Lots in Murfreesboro & My Bay Horse & one large Mahogany Table to him & His Heirs forever. .
Fifthly I give & bequeath unto Thomas P. Little all the rest of my Negroes after all My just debts shall be paid to him and his Heirs forever. Sixthly I give & bequeath unto George Little son of William P. Little the tract of Land whereon I now live to him and his Heirs forever.

My Will & desire is that the Negroes that I have given to George Blunt should be kept on the Plantation whereon I now live for the benefit of George Blunt until he shall arrive to Lawful age or dies.

Seventhly My will & desire is that all the residue of My Estate after the payment of all My just debts should be equally divided between my four grand daughters - Mary Ann Little, Lucy Little, Nancy Little & Cinthia Little to them and their Heirs foreverAnd hereby Make and ordain My Worthy Friends Timothy Ridley, William H. Murfree & My Son William P. Little Executors of this my Last Will & Testament. In witness whereof I the said Mary Ann Little have to this My Last will and Testament set My hand & Seal the day & year above written signed sealed published & declared by the sd Mary Ann Little, the testator as her last will & Testament in the presence of us who were present at the time of signing and sealing thereof Henry Wright & Isaac Langston.

I Mary Ann Little being of perfect Mind & Memory do Make & ordain this to be a Codicil to My Last Will & Testament bearing the date of the first day of June anno Dom 1812, and to Make & Constitute a part thereof as Much as if it had been Contained in the Body of My said will : First the Land whereon I now live which in My will to which this is a Codicil is devised to George Little. I do hereby give unto the said George Little & Thomas P. Little sons of William P. Little to them and Their Heirs forever to be equally divided between them. It is however my desire & Will that the Negroes given to George Blunt should remain on & be kept on the plantation whereon I now live until the end of the year 1821 unless he should die previous to that time & my son William P. Little have one half the profit thereof as compensation for his Trouble as one of my Executors & that George Blunt have the other half. Secondly it is My Will & desire that my son William P. Little convey to George Blunt a tract of land lying near Granvill Court House containing four hundred acres More or Less adjoining the Land of the Heirs of Pomplorey Davis decd. Thirdly It is My Will & desire that My woman Aggy have the free use of her time during three years Next succeeding My Death as a compensation for her faithful services & that after the expiration of that time she is considered the property of George Blunt, as Expressed in My Will. Fourthly I give unto William Little, son of William P. Little a Negro Child named Moses, son of My woman Ruby Boon. Making my Will above mentioned. Lastly It is My Will & desire that My friend Doctor James Maney Act as one of the Executors of this My last Will & Testament with these heretofore Named in My Will signed sealed & acknowledged as a codicil to her Last Will & Testament by the Testatrix in presence of us - J.S. Baker, Lewis Gatling, This 25th Feby AD 1813.

I wonder what became of those four mahogany tables that were so important to Mary Ann Little ? As important (or more so) than the human lives she equally divided amongst her kin? Were the tables handed down from one generation of Littles to the next? Did they travel West as the country expanded? Are they in a museum, on display somewhere? Or perhaps they were lost over the centuries - to war, or natural disasters, or perhaps just benign neglect.

I wonder what became of them ....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

There is a difference between "Progress" and "Development" ...

A recent article from the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald:

M'boro studies waterfront development

By Amanda VanDerBroek
Friday, June 29, 2007 7:53 PM CDT

MURFREESBORO - Every town is always trying to find a way to bring progress to the neighborhood and Murfreesboro is no different.A special meeting of the Murfreesboro Town Council was held on Wednesday to discuss possible development of the water front and other properties in the town. Murfreesboro officials along with citizens and interested developers from William E. Wood and Associates Realtors attended the meeting. Bobby Roberson, planning and development director of Washington, NC, was on hand to give recommendations to the board and community. Roberson shared his experiences and lessons he learned from being a part of Washington’s downtown development. He said the city often ran into problems with land regulations, building density and parking. “There was a lot of outcry from the public,” said Roberson, concerning the citizens’ desire for buildings located on the same block to be the same height. That similar concern was echoed by Murfreesboro citizen Gertrude Revelle. She explained while traveling she has seen cities that have lost their history to progress. “I don’t think we should encroach on history,” she said. Revelle also expressed concern for local restaurant owners in the area. “I would not want to run those people out of business,” Revelle said. All of the developers agreed that in order for development to happen, everyone, including the town, Chowan University and the Murfreesboro Historical Association, had to work together. “There has to be value to what we do,” said Geary Crist of William E. Wood and Associates Realtors. “Murfreesboro is a piece of clay; we can mold it as long as we communicate. We can make it work for everyone.” Mayor Lynn Johnson asked Roberson if he thought the flavor of Washington had been lost due to development. “I don’t think so,” Roberson replied. Roberson said Washington has a lot of history and noted there were retail shops and a civic center. Developer Ray Roenker added to Crist’s comments about wanting to work with the Murfreesboro community. “We’re just saying tell us what you want,” Roenker said. “This is not Reno. You don’t build glass buildings around here, it doesn’t fit here.” “I recommend a request for proposals and get someone on staff, like a city planner,” said Roberson. Roberson also noted the current wastewater project and suggested to make sure the town could provide sewer hookups before anything was done. Councilman Bill Theodorakis noted he would like to see completed projects done by the developers. “I’m all for it,” said Theodorakis. “If it’s done correctly it could be beneficial.”
Johnson described the meeting as “good dialogue.”

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy 4th of July !!

Sorry for the delay in posting recently - summer has arrived and I seem to be constantly on the run. But check back soon and you'll find lots of new Murfreesboro related information.